“They are rude, pushy and loud,” said a younger Greek Australian colleague about Greeks in Greece. “They’ll more likely kick you in the gutter than help you” he adds as an over enthusiastic assessment of “their” (Greeks’) behaviour.
I said that I found Greeks with whom I had dealings with over the last two weeks to be polite, almost formal.
I had the benefit of knowing Athens as an ex-resident. I hung out where Athenians did, in little bars in Exarhia listening to cool jazz beats, or ate at Psiri’s charcoal grill at at reasonable prices; or in Fokios Negri at some of the best sweet shops and coffee houses.
In Rhodes, I was with relatives who took me to areas visited by Italian, French and Greek tourists and locals.
Whereas Faliraki was full of 90-pound charter flight English youths, hell-bent on getting drunk, Kalithea Springs was occupied by well-heeled Italians, Greek and French tourists who look like characters out of a 1950s Fellini film.
The behaviour of young drunken English and Australian tourists, flashing their bums and tits, throwing up and urinating in public, common in the low cost tourist areas the young Brits tend occupy, has jaded the Greeks.
The cheaper “touristy” areas of any nation have poor services. Compare the service one gets in the trashier parts of the Gold Coast, Sydney’s Darling Harbour, Singapore’s Boat Quay, or just head to Kuta Beach in Bali.
My colleague was hurt with the suggestion that he was not “genteel” and that given his behaviour and that of his “crew”, he may have elicited rudeness from Greeks.
In truth, I did not know how he behaved, but it was an assumption based on the stories he had relayed to me while we were both working in Australia.
He flew into a tirade: “Greece is not a first-world country and it probably doesn't deserve to be in the EU.”
He went on, “It is so backward in so many ways down to the fact that they still write their official documents with a biro."
Adding he did not like having to “suffer someone else’s smoking while eating” or “being shoved into a bus”.
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